Avery Jenkins wrote:
Actually, Reed is closer to correct than you think. In Chinese medicine, "Blood is tself a form of Qi, a very dense and material one, but Qi nevertheless." (Maciocia G. The foundations of Chinese Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone; 1989.)
Qi itself can be immaterial or material. The chinese character for qi is comprised of the characters for vapor or steam, as well as the character for uncooked rice; this suggests that qi can be either as evanescent as gas or vapor, or dense and material as rice
Well, I think we get into a fairly difficult realm when we slip over into the qi-paradigm itself, because it could be argued (in the qi-paradigm) that all things are qi. In the qi paradigm, all unknown forces become attributable to "qi" and I'm sort of sticking to a "what are the substantive, in the western-science-paradigm, explanations for the substantive phenomena called qi" argument (in the debate sense).
In the sense that I'm using it, I'm backed up by the common perception that the qi leads the blood.... i.e., they are separate things. I can show what this almost undoubtedly means, BTW, but it would take a while to lead someone there. However, it's pretty convincing and final.
In terms of diagnosing the Chinese character for "qi", different people have different interpretations. I think the simplest is best, personally and it fits the standard perception of qi in Chinese folk-understanding pretty clearly. One of the best translations (although of course it's not a complete one) for qi is "air pressure" or "pressure". If you notice my posts, I keep referring to "pressure" and tension (although the tension I mean is not something easy to describe, so that would have to wait). There is a more etheric qi (the one used in emitted qi and TCM), and I have some limited ability with that, but the useful and martially useable qi is more related to the "air pressure" concept. That's why I mention it on a martial forum. I'd suggest that the Chinese character you mention is pointing to the "pressure" aspect of qi, but I recognize that it would be a moot discussion.